Track Duo Earns NCAA Championship Bids on Day One of Mideast Regional
May 25, 2007
COLUMBIA, Mo. - A pair of Memphis track and field athletes earned their spots in the NCAA Championships Friday during the first day of competition at the NCAA Mideast Regional as senior Gail Lee won the women's shot put and freshman Steffen Nerdal turned in a fourth-place performance in the men's hammer throw.
"Both Steffen and Gail had a great day," Memphis head coach Kevin Robinson said. "Gail did what Gail does. When it's time to compete she steps up. This is only the second regional champion we've ever had and the first ever on women's side."
Lee recorded a distance of 53-01.75 in the shot to earn the victory over Missouri's Krishna Lee. The win gives the two-time All-American the first regional crown of her career and her fourth trip to the NCAA Championships, tying her with former men's distance runner Paul Bannon for the most appearances in school history. The Fort Worth, Texas native never failed to reach the NCAA Championships in either of her indoor and outdoor seasons with the Tigers.
Nerdal, who came to Memphis in January, surpassed his collegiate best and school record with a mark of 211-10 in the hammer. The Norwegian is the first men's athlete to qualify for the NCAA Championships since Gaute Myklebust and Mate Nemeth in 2004.
High jumper Chen Edri scored for the Lady Tigers in the high jump, tying for eight-place with a clearance of 5-07.25.
Larry Harris narrowly missed qualifying for the finals of the men's 400-meter hurdles, finishing just three spots away from competing Saturday and clocking a time of 52.35